Video and Multimedia

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Video 1Why Some People Are More Altruistic Than Others
Description: Why do some people do selfless things, helping other people even at risk to their own well-being? In this intriguing TED Talk, psychology researcher Abigail Marsh studies the motivations of people who do extremely altruistic acts, like donating a kidney to a complete stranger. Are their brains just different?

Video 2The Biology of Our Best and Worst Selves
Description: How can humans be so compassionate and altruistic--and also so brutal and violent? To understand why we do what we do, neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky looks at extreme context, examining actions on timescales from seconds to millions of years before they occurred. In this fascinating TED Talk, he shares his cutting edge research into the biology that drives our worst and best behaviors.

Video 3The Bystander Effect--What Would You Do?
Description: Sometimes, it’s front and center: someone clearly needs help. From the ABC series What Would You Do?, it's unsettling to watch the difference in bystander reactions to the collapse of a well-dressed business woman on a busy downtown sidewalk versus that of a homeless man . . . but then a surprise: not everyone is so casually indifferent. Social Psychologist, and Yale University professor Jack Dovidio provides commentary on this riveting field experiment, inspiring all of us to be our better selves. Watch and then honestly ask yourself, what would you do?

Audio 1I Need a Hero
Description: Is there such a thing as a purely selfless deed--one with no hidden motives whatsoever? In this truly amazing report from Radiolab, hear about how Walter F. Rutkowski from the Carnegie Hero Fund spends his days measuring good deeds by some very stringent criteria--such as risking your life "to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the life of another person." Radiolab got in touch with three of these bona fide heroes to ask what went through their minds the moment they leapt into action. The heroes: Lora Shrake (who squared off with a 950-pound bull); Bill Pennell (who repeatedly dove into a burning car for survivors); and Wesley Autrey (who jumped in front of a subway train to save a fellow rider).

Audio 2Just a Little Nicer
Description: Compassion is a universal virtue, but is it innate or taught? Have we lost touch with it? Can we be better at it? In this episode of TED Radio, speakers explore compassion: its roots, its meaning and its future.

Audio 3Why People Take Risks to Help Others: Altruism’s Roots in the Brain
Description: When someone does something utterly selfless, you might think, oh, they're just a generous kind of soul. But new research suggests altruism may be hardwired in the brain. Learn the intriguing reason why in this report from National Public Radio (NPR).